Southern Africa Floods Flash Update (as of 28 January 2013)
Flooding of the Incomati and Limpopo Basins in mid to late January 2013 affected Gaza Province in southern Mozambique, in particular the districts of Chokwe and Guija. As at 28 January 2013, around 40 people have died and an estimated 250,000 people are affected out of a total population of 339,800 living in these areas, including 150,000 people displaced to temporary shelters - triple Friday's number - as rescue operations and evacuations continue.
The rains over southern Mozambique have ceased for the time being, and the floodwaters are slowly receding. However, many have lost everything in the floods. Distribution of non-food and food items by Government and partners started a few days ago, but more support is needed, particularly in the areas of shelter, food, water, health, protection and logistics. Reports of shortages of medicines, oral rehydration salts and mosquito nets have been received, and cases of diarrhea have been reported in Guija district, the cause of which has yet to be confirmed. In some remote areas assistance is still to be provided as some road have been damage or destroyed.
The UN and humanitarian partners are fully engaged in supporting the Government of Mozambique in response, with support also coming from the Republic of South Africa, including the provision of a helicopter, boat and health staff. A number of resource mobilization options are being considered by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), which is drafting a response plan and a Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) application, with the support of the OCHA Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA). A briefing will be taking place tomorrow, 28 January 2013, at 2.30 p.m. local time (GMT+2) at the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Maputo, which will cover all aspects of the situation and response to date.
A tropical cyclone has been detected 1,100 km east of Madagascar. Named “Fellang”, latest projections are for the storm to increase in strength to a Category 3 Intense Tropical Cyclone (wind speeds of 200 km/h and associated heavy rains) as it moves towards the island, touch the north-east coast of Madagascar around 31 January, and then continue in a south-eastern direction (see attached map). The Malagasy National Meteorological Service has already issued a warning. The most at-risk areas are between the districts of Vohémar and Mahanoro (the eastern coast from north to central Madagascar). As the system is expected to move along the east coast, it is likely that the south-east coast of Madagascar will also experience flooding. The Malagasy National Meteorological Service will provide more precise information on the trajectory and likely impacts tomorrow, 29 January 2013. In terms of preparedness, an initial meeting was convened this morning, 28 January 2013, with the National Bureau for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC), the Civil Protection Corps, the National Meteorological Service, as well as the Ministries of Defense and Public Works. The Logistics Cluster has been activated, but aerial assessments will most likely only be possibly after the storm has passed (around 04 February 2013). Operations centers have also been activated and response teams have been put on standby.
The HCT, supported by OCHA, is also preparing response documents in case of any eventuality and OCHA ROSA is planning to deploy two staff members to support coordination and information management (mapping).
Following floods earlier in January which affected 30,785 people, no new cases of flooding have been reported over the past week. Those affected by floods have been assisted by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) with food, blankets and plastic sheeting. Water, sanitation and health (WASH) concerns are also being addressed. Various UN agencies are finalizing proposals to provide support in the sectors of agriculture, WASH, nutrition, education and reproductive health.
Regional Meteorological Forecast
In addition to the tropical cyclone projected to affect the eastern coast of Madagascar, between 29 January and 04 February a storm system is forecasted to develop in the Mozambique Channel, expected to bring heavy rains over northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar. Parts of north-east Zambia and northern Malawi are also expected to receive heavy rains during this period. Between 05 and 13 February, the system over northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar is expected to continue, and also bring heavy rains to Malawi. Central Angola is also expected to receive heavy rains.
Mozambique, in dealing with the floods in the south, is already stretched to capacity, therefore additional flooding in the north could have serious humanitarian implications. Similarly, with serious flooding already affecting central and southern Malawi earlier this year, more heavy rains could have a significant impact. The cyclone threatening Madagascar is of great concern as well.
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